As we come into the warmer months, it is very important to stay properly hydrated. Sugary sports drinks or soft drinks may seem to quench your thirst momentarily but often do more damage than good. As we already know, the best way to stay hydrated is to regularly drink water. So be sure to carry a bottle with you this summer.
“But plain water is boring”
It’s understandable that drinking just plain water can be dull,so some people like to flavour drinking water by adding a few slices of lemon or lemon juice. It has been reported that lemon juice has a number of benefits for your health including digestion, skin, and is a good source of vitamin C and potassium, boosting your immune system.
From a dental perspective, it is important to also balance the health benefits against the effects of acidic juices on your teeth. Enamel is one of the most durable substances in the body, and it takes a lot to damage it. However, lemon juice, which contains citric acid, is highly acidic. Over time, routine consumption of lemon juice washing over your teeth will cause the enamel to erode, eventually exposing the under layer called dentine.
We’re not saying to cut out lemons completely. The main problem is that water is an effective vehicle for lemon juice to make direct contact with your teeth. Lemon squeezed over meals are fine, as the food provides cover from the acidity for your teeth. The effects of erosion from lemon water can be extensive and once the enamel is damaged the solution is often a costly dental treatment plan. Our preventative dentistry philosophy leads us to ask you to consider the pros and cons of drinking lemon water.
What impact does Erosion have on your teeth?
When enamel (protective covering that defends your teeth) becomes eroded it can leave your teeth at risk for cavities and other damage.
Weakened enamel is a leading cause of tooth sensitivity.
It can lead to yellowing of your teeth as the outer white layer of enamel is eroded allowing the underlying yellow dentine layer shine through.
Tips if you wish to drink lemon water:
If you do enjoy drinking water with lemon, remember that everything in moderation is best. Consider peeling lemon rind into your water instead, still allowing for the lemon flavour without the risk of acid attacking your enamel.
Like with all acidic drinks, drinking with a straw to try to bypass your teeth and limit the areas of exposure to a minimum, be very careful if it is a hot drink!
After drinking an acidic lemon drink, rinse your mouth straight away with tap water. This will wash the acid away from the oral cavity and will help to return the normal pH balance in the saliva. Alternatively, a sugar free chewing gum increases salivation which neutralizes the acidity in your mouth.
Use a toothpaste especially formulated for acid attack. Wait an hour before brushing your teeth following a lemon drink to allow the enamel to remineralise and harden. Always use a soft toothbrush in a gentle massaging technique.
If you already have enamel erosion and would like to hear further options or consult with us, please feel free to arrange a time to see us. Maintaining your regular dental examinations is a great way to ensure any changes to teeth or signs of erosion is detected and managed early!